On Sunday, our Epistle reading will be the fairly well-known text from Ephesians 6, entitled: “The Armor of God.” It has always been a favorite passage. I suppose, even as a boy, I was intrigued by the imagery of swords and shields and helmets. Of course, the point of the text is to remind us that us that we are engaged in spiritual warfare. St. Paul reminds us our struggle is not against flesh and blood.
It is a reminder we need daily, as we interact with those around us. Unfortunately, our enemy is very successful in making us forget our real enemies are spiritual, and then watching gleefully as we take up the battle against “enemies” who are very much flesh and blood–often friends, neighbors, colleagues and especially our loved ones
As I was thinking about this, I was reminded of a poem I had written on this subject years ago during a time I felt the enemy had been especially successful in this “bait and switch” tactic both in my own life and in the church at large. I pulled it out this afternoon, and was surprised to discover it was written exactly 20 years ago this week. (Time truly flies!) In any case I submit it below for your reflection. May the Lord have mercy on our follies and give us happier victories!
Hell’s skillful archers bend their treach’rous bows,
Let fly their poison’d arrows toward the fray;
And solitary warriors in the throes
Of deadly combat struck therewith suppose
That someone near has pierced them sore, so they
Turn ’round in rage to fight, but soon betray
How ill-equipped they are ’gainst faceless foes;
Undaunted, set the battle in array,
And wage a war against their own rear flanks.
Too long, the Church hath told this tragic tale;
Too long, hath decimated her own ranks.
’Til she unites in love, she’ll not prevail,
Nor understand the mischief she hath done;
For having conquered, finds that she’s not one.
DSA + 10/21/98
Hope to see you on Sunday!